An accidental pussy grabber

So, I was on my way to a meeting the other day, when I inadvertently kidnapped a neighbors’ cat.

Really… it wasn’t my fault.

louisSee, we have this big black cat named Oliver. And Oliver has gotten it into his head lately that he should be able to roam about his domain, namely everything he can see from the window behind my work chair, any time he wants.

Sometimes, the boys let him out in the morning.

And sometimes, he slips out when no one is looking.

Acat-on-a-keyboardnd there are those days when he sits on someone’s keyboard or climbs on the back of their chair in order to attack their hair while they’re typing forcing someone to decide to actually throw him out… but, I digress.

Any who, I was just driving down the street, sort of patting myself on the back for being on time for a change, when I see a couple of guys in a state vehicle, standing on the side of the street with this black cat.

Immediately, it registered with me that it looked like Oliver.

Almost simultaneously, it registered that even government employees don’t deserve that kind of torture.

When I was three blocks away it also registered – “Holy monkey pee, they might actually take the cat with them!”

I mean, it is my youngest son Max’s cat, and for some bizarre reason he actually likes the furry little asshole, despite his tendency to attack Max when he’s trying to sleep.

So, I doubled back and pulled up behind their truck.

“Did I see y’all with a black cat earlier?” I asked them. “I think that’s ours. He likes to get out in the morning and terrorize the neighborhood.”

black-cat-pink-collarThey pointed to the other side of their truck where a black cat with a pink ribbon around its neck was standing.

Naturally, since I was now running late, I grabbed the cat, threw it in the van, thanked the guys for their help and took off.

It wasn’t until I was halfway to the highway that I realized…Oliver doesn’t have a collar.

Looking a little closer at the cat, I realized Oliver doesn’t have as round of a face or such a small body.

Then it hit me – I’d grabbed the wrong cat!

Apparently, you really CAN just grab ‘em, even if you’re not a celebrity. Some of them really do just let you.

There were other indications this wasn’t Oliver, as well… for instance, this cat was nice.

This cat would let you pet it more than three times in a row without feeling the need to attack your hand like it was a mouse bathed in tuna juice.

This cat looked up at you with eyes that said “Love me please!” instead of glaring “Are you planning on feeding me anytime soon, or do you get the claws again?”

This cat was also a girl.

Clearly, I’d made a huge mistake.

I decided to name her LaLa Land.

img_0356-1Barreling down the highway, late to my appointment and talking to LaLa, I tried to figure out what I to do. In response, LaLa decided to curl up in my lap, rest her head on my arm and fall asleep.

Who can resist that?

I briefly considered taking off the collar, putting it on Oliver and switching them out when no one was looking. Hey, if it worked for Patty Duke…

For the next four hours, I talked to LaLa as we ran errands and ate lunch. She curled up in my arm while I was driving and wandered the car when I wasn’t. I shared a bit of my chicken caesar salad with her, and poured her a cupful of water. She purred in contentment and never once nipped at my fingers to protest anything.

Finally, I stopped in front where I’d snatched her from and put her back where she belonged. She alternately clung to me and scrabbled to get away as I took put her on the sidewalk.

I swear she looked back at me with the melancholy gaze of a hostage with Stockholm syndrome.

cat-tongue-catAnd although I briefly thought about grabbing her back up and whisking her away to our house where she could live as my special cuddle cat for the rest of our days… I resisted. Two cats are enough, my husband says. Anything more than that borders on hoarding.

Or so I’m told.

I’m not sure I believe that.

LaLa was a pretty good listener, despite being a catnapping victim, and she was much nicer than Oliver ever had been. She didn’t even mind being in a minivan – which is more than I can say for my other son.

But still, kidnapping someone else’s cat, no matter how nice and accommodating the cat is, is no way to acquire a new pet.

Again, I’ve heard this, but I’m not quite sure I believe it.  Surely there are exceptions … like when a cat really likes you, right?

And even though she was in my life for only a short time, I like to think she was happy… and that she taught me a life lesson I’m not soon to forget – namely, that I am seriously just one bad relationship away from becoming a crazy cat lady…

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2017

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Bathing the cat

This afternoon, I came home and gave my cat a bath.

Sounds like fun, I know, but it wasn’t as bad as you think.

funny-wet-cats-1It was, in a way, a release.

Stitch is one of three cats in our house, and he is by far the oldest. At 13-years-old, which is roughly equivalent to 417 in human years, he walks around the house like he owns the place, his breathing labored and wheezy, his steps a little weak and staggery.

Then again, he is 417, so that’s to be expected.

Last week, while we were on the porch, it occurred to me that he’s stopped washing himself somewhat, and that he really needed a bath. So, at 9 o’clock at night, I took him into the kitchen sink and washed him.

He didn’t resist. He sat there as the mildly warm water ran over him out of the spray faucet. He let me lather him up and wash him off again.

That’s the same thing he did today. He just sat there and let me take care of him.

Three years ago, he would have scratched your eyes out just to look at him.

For the first 10 years of Stitch’s life, he labored under the belief that everyone was out to pet him and that he wasn’t going to like it. I think it stemmed from being held by young kids too long and too tightly when he was a kitten.

We got him from a friend who knew that we were cat people. She dropped him off at our house and told us she knew we’d love him. Immediately our oldest son, then two, and our niece, then around six, decided that he was their personal petting zoo. It probably scarred him for life.

evil-catFrom then on, he’d hide in the chairs under the kitchen table and would lash out at people who walked by. He’d hiss at anyone who got too close to him and he spent most of his time letting everyone know how unhappy he was.

It was okay though. He was nice at times, and would semi-infrequently rub up against our legs or give us a yodel in the middle of the afternoon to let us know he was hungry and that even though he hated us, we should still love him.

And we did.

But sometime in the last three years, he changed. It was like one day, he forgot he was angry. In the afternoons, I would come home from work to find that all he wanted was to curl up in my arms and have me pet him. He would practically trip me going into the bathroom to get me to pick him up.

So I did.

It occurred to me that he was getting old and that this may be a form of kitty cat dementia. Maybe feline Alzheimer’s made him forget to be pissed off, mean and shitty. I can think of a few people I’d like to get that kind of dementia…

I looked at him differently after that though. I knew he was dying. I knew he was getting ready to leave us. I knew he had just a few more months to live the life that he hadn’t lived when he was younger.

I pet him more. I let him curl up in my arms more often. After 10 years of living inside all the time, I took him outside with me when I read on our back porch. While we were out there, he would roam a little. He would sniff all the new plants and planters. He would attack sticks and worms. He would sit beside me and let me pet him. Occasionally, he would curl up in my lap and fall asleep.

After all, he is 417 years old.old cat

So when I came home this afternoon, and he looked weak and withered, I decided that he needed another bath. He’s not washing himself and the fleas are taking advantage of him.

He sat there in the sink and enjoyed himself. And later, as he was shivering in the towel I wrapped around him, I could hear him purring.

There’s a lot of love that comes from giving a bath to someone and from getting a bath as well. The giver has to accept the frailty of the bather’s condition unconditionally and to show their love by taking care of the other. At the same time, the bather chooses to show their love for someone by submitting to the act of being bathed and accepting, unconditionally, the love that is being given.

For a cat who hated everything, he had found a little to love. And so, finally, had I.

I decided that it would be best for him if I blow-dried his hair.

I know. As if a bath wasn’t bad enough.

But I figured with his deteriorating state, standing around shivering wouldn’t be a good thing. When I put him in the bathroom sink and turned on the blow dryer, he wrapped his paws around one of my hands and lay there. My 13-year-old cat getting a comb and blowout.

As I was drying his hair, I started thinking to myself, “Someday I’ll be doing this for my mom, as she did hers, and in time, someone will take care of me too.”

Our lives go on and we move forward with the ones we love. We give them our attention, we give them their space to be who they are and we love them for their differences in spite of how difficult they can make our lives. We usher them into our private world and slow their exit as much as we can, even if it makes us weaker in the process.

Even if that loved one is a cat.

sleeping-cat-close-upAfter he was dry, I brought him onto the couch with me and put him on the back of it, in the sun, where he likes to sleep. He laid down and purred for a while, just barely touching my shoulder with his paws.

When I got up to get a glass of wine, I heard him get down.

He went to the cat litter box, but he couldn’t get out. He had laid down in the cat litter.

So much for the bath and blow dry.

Maybe he just wanted another one.

 

Copyright (C) Liz Carey 2014